CAREC countries chart way forward for regional cooperation

A ger camp in Mongolia. Mongolia is a member country of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program. Photo by: civ33 / CC BY-NC-SA

Ministers from 10 Asian nations are convening Oct. 29-31 in Wuhan, China, to discuss ways to implement a strategy to boost trade, energy and infrastructure development in the Caucasus, and Central, East and South Asia.

The ministers are from the 10 member countries of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program, a multistakeholder partnership that promotes project-based cooperation among Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It is backed by six multilateral institutions, namely the Asian Development BankEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and DevelopmentIslamic Development BankInternational Monetary FundU.N. Development Program and the World Bank. ADB hosts the CAREC secretariat.

This week’s meeting is the 11th time ministers from the 10 countries are convening under the CAREC program. Discussions are expected to focus on charting concrete actions toward implementing CAREC 2020, a development roadmap adopted at the last ministerial meeting in Azerbaijan in 2011.

CAREC 2020 focuses on trade expansion and improved competitiveness. It supports the four priority areas of the CAREC program, namely transport, trade facilitation, energy and trade policy. The strategy predicts the flow of billions of dollars in financial aid to the region to support projects in these four areas.

The 10 countries involved in the program have seen some $19.6 billion worth of investments in 120 projects since CAREC was established in 2001. These projects include the reconstruction of a 200-kilometer road in Kazakhstan and a 500-kilometer road in Tajikistan, and support for Afghanistan’s first railway.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.